Diminishing dinner parties


ACCORDING to new research, the dinner party will soon be consigned to the history books.

The latest study into the nation’s entertaining habits has revealed white napkins, starch tablecloths, bread rolls and prawn cocktails in the style of The Good Life’s Margo and Jerry Leadbetter are simply a thing of the past to the extent that 84% of modern Brits think informal or causal kitchen suppers have replaced the stuffy dinner party of old.

The research also revealed a guide to modern day entertaining, for both guests and hosts alike – including never serving a chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham, always serving olives from the local deli rather than a jar and making sure what you serve is seasonal.

Other rules of modern entertaining are NEVER serving anything on a cocktail stick, always having enough mixers and ice and never talking TV, jobs or children.

However, politics, sex and death are subjects which should NOT be avoided at the modern day party, according to the 1,500 adults polled.

The survey also revealed that because we’re ditching a ‘dining room’ culture, 65% are now more sociable than ever, having friends over on average three times a month.

In fact, Brits will host an average of 36 supper and lunch parties every year at their homes, splashing out just over £3,000 a year on food and booze for friends according to the poll.

But as ‘casual’ as we appear in our entertaining , Brits secretly still pull all the stops out to impress; with 62% admitting they tidy and clean the house from top to bottom before guests arrive, and 31% saying they agonise over choosing the right outfit.

On average, Brits spend £52 on food for our guests and a further £33 on alcohol – with Saturday night emerging as the nation’s favourite time to entertain for 54%, followed by Friday night (20%).

Unfortunately though, it’s not all plain sailing, as almost half of Brits (44%) have been left less than impressed by their guests’ behaviour – feeling their efforts have been unappreciated.

41% complained of guests drinking too much, while 26% have had to deal with a friend or family member starting an inappropriate conversation.  A further 22% have had a guest start an argument with a fellow diner, while 21% of hosts say a guest had the nerve to turn up with people they didn’t know and hadn’t invited.

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